Minister Charlie McConalogue
The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association in Donegal is holding an information meeting on the proposed CAP plan 2023-2027 this Friday, November 19, in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey.
The Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue TD will be in attendance as well as other public representatives.
This is an important opportunity for farmers to get informed about what the CAP supports will involve in the years ahead.
The Donegal Chair for the INHFA John McConway estimates that “over 80% of Donegal farmers will see an increase in their direct payments through the convergence of payments. This was of course a key priority for the INHFA and is now a major part of the redistribution model in the proposed CAP Plan.
With the Department of Agriculture not hosting any “town hall meetings”, Friday’s meeting will, stated Mr McConway, “provide Donegal farmers with a unique opportunity to question the Minister while also getting vital information on the significant changes to the make-up of schemes outlined in the new CAP Plan.”
With regard to these changes, he said that this will mean that under Pillar 1 there will be the introduction “of a front-loaded payment option that will support smaller holders which was something the INHFA sought. In addition to this, farmers will also be required to take on board new environmental measures under the proposed eco-scheme.”
Regarding Pillar 2, the Donegal Chair outlined how the successor to GLAS, the Agri-Environmental Climate Measure (AECM) has the potential to provide increased funding for farmers.
However, the scheme will, he maintained, “ be very different to GLAS or even REPS but must ensure access for all farmers delivering on environmental outcomes unlike what happened in GLAS where private hill land was effectively excluded.”
With regard to suckler and sheep supports, McConway outlined that while there are continued supports under the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme and the Sheep Improvement Scheme these supports are, he maintained, “well short of where they need to be.”
Commenting on the organic sector, he welcomed the substantial increase to support organic farming but stressed the need “to be inclusive and ensure access for all farmers that want to go organic.”
With the majority of the schemes in the new CAP Plan coming on the back of added conditionality, Mr McConway stressed that it is “vital that farmers get as much information as possible and Friday’s meeting can be an excellent starting point on this.”
Concluding, Mr McConway made reference to the last 20 months and the impact of the covid 19 pandemic. With this in mind he recognised and accepted that there will be farmers who are reluctant to come back out to meetings, but did assure that the meeting will be conducted in accordance with Covid 19 guidelines including the requirement for the covid (vaccination) certificate. Friday’s meeting will start at 8.00 pm.
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